Fitness for everyoneHave you been hoping to get fit, but you feel like you are so far away from your weight loss goal that it is impossible? Have you spent the last several days searching for the perfect weight loss workout plan, looking for something that you feel able and ready to do? Maybe you have five pounds to lose, or twenty, or fifty, or a hundred or more, and you don’t know where to start to get back into shape. That is probably what led you here in the first place.

I am here to tell you a secret: there is no perfect weight loss workout plan. We all want something tailor made by an expert to suit us, but the truth is there is no magic go-to to help us slim down and tone up. We are all at different levels physically, but also mentally and emotionally. Getting fit takes strength of will and is hard work. Sometimes it can feel like an insurmountable task, rendering even a fantastic, personalized and expensive plan useless.

So, where do you begin? Wherever you like. The important thing to remember is that even a small effort in the beginning is a good one. Once you get started you will almost certainly struggle, and you will find yourself unable to do that much. But after a few weeks you will see your stamina building, and that effort will no longer be a challenge. So you will double it, then triple it, then add it to different workouts or activities. Where you start is not where you will end, so don’t worry about your beginning level.

There are some general rules you should follow to see it through:

  • Do something you enjoy. This is crucial, because if you do something you hate, you will find it almost impossible to do it every day you are supposed to. Hate running but like biking? The opt for a ride around the city rather than a jog. Like to swim? Find a community center with pool access on the cheap and do it in the morning before work, or in the evening before bed. If you like it, you will be more eager to do it, especially on those days where you don’t feel like doing much at all.
  • Do something to distract yourself. A workout goes much faster if you have something else to focus on. Bring along your MP3 player and listen to a book on tape or podcast, some talk radio or a blood pumping music playlist. Watch the televisions in the workout room or gym, or bring a media player that lets you watch movies or TV. Anything that keeps your mind focused away from the timer.
  • Do something with a friend. A spouse, a friend, a sibling, kids or just a workout buddy from a fitness group make great motivators. Have them exercise with you, or make it a fun group activity everyone can enjoy. If you have someone to hold you accountable, and for you to hold accountable in return, you are more likely to work out.
  • Do something different. Don’t restrict yourself to a single workout if you get bored. Some people like to follow a routine all the time, which is fine. But if you are like me you should mix things up to keep yourself from losing interest. Have a small arsenal of workouts to do on different days, such as running, biking, an in-gym workout, a swim, yoga and exercise videos. Do whatever feels good for that day.
  • Do a fitness class. Classes can be a lot of fun, and a great way to meet other health conscious friends. Zumba, pilates, yoga, spinning, water aerobics, salsa and hip hop dancing, martial arts, kickboxing…there are classes for people at every level and with any interests. With a gym membership you will usually have access to all classes, but you can also find community run classes around your city.
  • Do keep track of your progress (here is one fun free Twitter-based tool for that!). Whether you use a notebook, a chart or a website like Sparkpeople, you should keep track of your progress. How you do this is up to you; you can go by the scale, by inches, or just by how you feel at the end of a workout and how long you can go at what intensity. Whatever you decide, you should take some time to recognize how far you have come. It is the greatest motivation there is.

Resources

If you want a place to start, you can use any one of these websites to get you on the right track. They are appropriate for anyone, and you are sure to find something to meet your needs.

  • SparkPeople – A personal favorite, Sparkpeople is a comprehensive site with a fitness tracker, food diary, personal blogs, community groups, fitness videos (including the popular 10 – 15 minute workouts), recipes and articles. They also have a point system with trophies.
  • Bodyrock.tv – A website with a ton of fun and interesting workouts set to good music. Better for intermediate and advanced users, but with beginner options. This is a nice way to get in a workout without going anywhere.
  • Crossfit –  A great site for advanced fitness buffs. Crossfit has some of the more challenging workouts that I have found, which can be adapted well for your style. You can either do them alone, or by going to one of their licensed providers. They also have a great course for kids.
  • StickKNot fitness specific, StickK can be used to set and reach goals. The idea is based on a university study that found that people were more successful at reaching goals if they had something to lose. So you make a commitment, set stakes (as in laying cash down), and get going. If you don’t reach that goal you lose your money. Whether you want to quit smoking, lose weight or get fit, this is the way to do it.
  • Ross Training – A strength and conditioning blog. This forum is a great place to meet like-minded individuals and get advice and training tips.
  • Mark’s Daily Apple – A blog written by Mark Sisson about health, nutrition, fitness and the industry.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by lululemon athletica

 

This is a guest post by Jessy Troy who tries to find her own perfect plan (and loves discovering great free tools for that)! She blogs on trainer fitness and dreams of a fitness body!

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4 Weight Loss Facts You Should Know About

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You might be a health buff who thinks you know everything when it comes to topics that involve weight loss and fitness. However, the following facts might be something that you still haven’t heard of or would be too outrageous for you to even believe. Here are some interesting healthy weight loss reports that you might want to include in your “weight loss fact list”.

Fact #1 Women Gain More Weight Than Men When Living Together

Your DVD collection won’t be the only thing growing if you move in with your man. Cohabiting tends to make men healthier- but women heavier. According to a recent research about the influence that live-in partners have on each other’s eating behaviors, they found that lads tend to eat more healthfully after the move, but women less so – thereby packing on the pounds. Why? Probably because women start eating more like their men. Women might compromise and buy white bread if that’s all what their partners will eat. Can’t agree on chow choices with your new roomie? Try smaller packages of the food you each like: a half-gallon of whole milk for him and a skim for her; ice cream for him, Skinny Cow pops for her.

Fact #2 Quit Meat And Gain Less Weight As You Grow Up

Move over, bacon! Quitting meat can help prevent weight gain as you grow up. A group of researchers followed the weight of nearly 22,000 meat eaters, vegetarians, and vegans for 5 years. Everyone put on a few pounds, but the carnivores who gave up meat during the course of the study gained less than any other group.

It makes sense: Animal protein is full of saturated fats. And fiber-rich carbs (like whole-grain bread, fruits, and veggies) can give you an energy-burning boost because calories from complex carbs are used quickly rather than stored fat. Not ready to ban beef? Include more grains and legumes in your diet to help burn calories efficiently.

Fact #3 Calories Do Matter

A calorie is a calorie, right? Not really. Choosing foods rich in vitamins and nutrients (like fiber, protein, and complex carbs) over ones that have the same caloric content but fewer nutrients can help you lose weight: Calorie for calorie, they keep you fuller longer. Make these food swaps and tame your tummy.

  • Instead of having half a cup of corn, have 3 cups of asparagus instead. Both have 75 calories but the latter has folate, Vitamins A and K.
  • Instead of snacking on 1 oz of pretzels, have 1 large apple instead. Both snacks contain around 100 calories each but apple has fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.
  • Instead of having 5-oz of roasted chicken breast for lunch, shift to 5-oz of salmon fillet. Both would approximately account to 300 calories each, but the fish has folate, magnesium, niacin, and potassium.

Fact #4 Motivation Is Still The Key

Exercising just to trim your figure may make you exercise less. A group of researchers surveyed 59 women and found that the 26 who sweats for the sole purpose of shedding weight or toning up attended the most exercise classes. But they actually spent 40 percent less time exercising overall than women who were active because it made them feel good, was good for their health, or relieved stress. Your new mini may motivate you to initiate a workout program, but your discipline might waver if you’re driven by unrealistic expectations and you associate exercise with hatred of your body.

Our suggestion: Try combining fitness and pleasure: Watch your favorite TV series while you walk a mile or two in your treadmill or pedal a good distance in a stationary bike.

Losing weight is like pumping air in a balloon. If you put too little air, the effect is close to nothing and it’s just a waste of energy. Pumping too much air on the other hand, would cause it to burst. So, take it one step at a time and apply the tips and tricks that could help you along the way.

Alex writes about healthy ways on how to lose weight fast. He strongly believes that this should be done using natural and safe methods. All his articles are easy to follow and are based on established research and personal experience.

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A lot of people are wondering if Vegan diets could cause vitamin deficiency.  It is known that a strict Vegan only eat fruits and vegetables.  Unlike vegetarians, a Vegan does not eat dairy products, eggs and honey.

Because Vegans get their nourishment purely from plant sources, there is a wide perception that they are more susceptible to vitamin deficiency.  By eliminating all kinds of foods that come from animal sources, Vegans can not get the vitamins and minerals found in fish, meat, and poultry.

However, Vegans contend that they could get all their nutritional and vitamin needs from plants and fruits.  The important thing is to identify vegetables that could serve as good alternatives to meat and fish.

Risk of Vitamin Deficiency among Vegans

Veganism is a way of life.  It is not just a diet program as widely believed by many people.  When you go Vegan, you are embracing a different nutritional principle that affects your lifestyle.

A problem may occur if you adopt the Vegan lifestyle haphazardly.  As a way of life, you need to thoroughly study Veganism and it includes finding the right foods that will give all your vitamin and mineral needs.  If you are not careful, then you could suffer from vitamin deficiency due to your Vegan diet.

One of the most common problems experienced by Vegans is vitamin B-12 deficiency.  Your body’s iron and calcium levels may also be affected by a very strict plant diet.  These are due to the elimination of eggs, fish, and milk from your daily meals.  This kind of vitamin deficiency could lead to general weakness, nausea, sleeplessness, and exhaustion.  Such symptoms could manifest because your body’s vitamin balance has been disturbed.

How to Prevent Vitamin Deficiency If You Are a Vegan

If you are really serious on becoming a full pledged Vegan, then you have to start by studying the vitamin and mineral content of fruits and vegetables.  You can do your research by reading online nutritional journals.  You may also consult a nutritionist or a dietitian so that you can get a comprehensive list of the nutritional values of fruits and vegetables.

Because there is a big risk of vitamin deficiency especially on vitamin B-12, you should increase your consumption of fortified cereals, soya milk, vegetable margarines, and yeast extracts.  You should also consider increasing your consumption of beans, dark green vegetables, and sun treated organic mushrooms for your calcium, iron, and vitamin D needs.

As a Vegan, you are not allowed to eat fatty fish and sea foods.  So you will miss their vitamin D content. In order to avoid D vitamin deficiency, then you need to make sure that you are getting enough sunlight.  You have to expose your skin to sunshine for at least 10 to 15 minutes per day to trigger the optimum production of vitamin D in your body.

Vegans are more susceptible to vitamin deficiency.  However, you can avoid a deficiency if you will carefully select vegetables and fruits that could substitute for meat, fish, and dairy products.

From everything written above, I think that you should focus on consuming more foods rich on vitamin B12 (Do you know that in Danish the term is B12 vitamin fødevarer?) to avoid vitamin deficiency.

 

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Bat-wings are considered as one of the biggest arm problems of women. Having large and flabby arms can prevent women from wearing sleeveless clothing such as spaghetti straps and strapless blouses. In order to get rid of flabby arms, you must lose weight. You would not achieve the desired results if you use arm exercises only, without implementing a weight loss plan. Once you have established your weight loss regime, you can implement these arm exercises into your routine.

Push-Ups

Push-ups do not only tone the arms, but they also strengthen other muscles in your upper body. Using an exercise mat, place your palms flat on the surface and lock your elbows. Keep your head upright. Stretch your legs and tuck your toes under your feet. Push yourself slowly toward the floor, while bending your arms and keeping your palms fixed on the exercise mat. When doing push-ups your feet are usually used. However, for women who have never done push-ups, there is a different approach. In a push-up exercise for women, you can use your knees instead of your feet. Kneel down on an exercise mat. Place your palms on the mat, while making sure that your chest, stomach and legs are in one straight line. Slowly draw your upper body toward the floor, bending your elbows in the process. Make sure your chest doesn’t touch the surface. Then slowly lift your body up to the original position. This serves as one push-up. Start with ten counts a day, gradually increasing the number of push-ups a day.

Dumbbell Bicep Curls

Dumbbell bicep curls is one of the easiest and most effective exercises for women. Stand up straight with your chest out and your shoulders level. Have your feet apart in such a way that they are in the same vertical line as that of your shoulders. This position gives your body proper balance for the exercise. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Slowly lift your hands toward your shoulder, bending your elbows in the process, without moving or swaying your arms.

Single Arm Pull-up (Back)

The single arm pull-up is one of the most popular exercises for women that are being taught by gym instructors. With this exercise, you would need a stable bench that is at least knee high. Place your left knee and your left hand on the bench. The palm must be resting on the surface with your elbows locked. Place your right foot firmly on the ground. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand. Make sure your upper right arm is on your side. Do not move it. Slowly straighten your lower arm (holding the dumbbell) until it is level with your buttocks. Then, bend it slowly toward the ground. This serves as one arm pull-up. Repeat this exercise ten times.

If you want to tone your arms, these are great exercises for you to do every day. Make sure you gradually increase the number of times you execute each exercise. Increase your exercise count once your body has grown accustomed to the routine.

 

Haliyma Barrow is a freelance writer working at EduBook.  Barrow enjoys contributing health articles and covers various women’s health issues in her articles.

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Tips To Shun The Fast Food Cravings!

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Junk food, no doubt is irresistible and highly scrumptious. Are you aware of the fact that junk food is very unhealthy? Mostly, we know the ill effects, but still many fall prey to the craving we have for it. The only way to combat this craving is to understand the importance of a fat burning diet filled with healthy and natural food.

Keep Away From Fast Food Outlets.
You know the saying “prevention” is better than “cure”. Junk food has high triglyceride levels that may cause obesity. Make a list of junk food that you often pine for and find out different ways of keeping away from them.

Keep Your Body Hydrated.
By drinking enough water everyday you ensure that the mechanism of metabolism take place naturally. This boost in the metabolism keeps the urge for eating junk food at bay.

Include Plenty Fruits and Vegetables In Your Diet.
It is likely that your cravings stem from a shortage of essential vitamins and minerals. Keeping the golden rule of 5 portions of fresh fruit and veggies goes a long way to satisfy your appetite and improve your health.

Try To Do a Fat Burning Workout Everyday.
Studies showed that people who work out for more than half an hour eat less and have a healthier choice food which makes them healthy and active.

Do Not Eat When You Are Not Hungry.
Listen to your body. In the beginning, it may be difficult, but by really making a choice before putting anything in your mouth you will eventually master the habit to gorge on everything you lay your eyes on.

Stay Focused.
If you eat, sit down at the table and concentrate the taste and aroma of the food. Do not eat standing or watching TV  – you are distracting yourself, and before you know it you have eaten a whole lot more than what is necessary and good for you.

The Power Of Cinnamon
Cinnamon is said to alleviate the glucose levels in the blood, and hence you stop eating once the necessary amount is consumed. This is a great way to combat that junk food cravings.

Incorporating these tips into your lifestyle will lead to a diet that works and to a life filled with vitality.


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